NDTV Imagine Ltd, the entertainment venture from the NDTV Group, has been very quiet since the official announcement made eight months back. However, now the organisation has decided to break its silence. NDTV Imagine has taken its first ‘baby steps’ as the CEO of the venture, Sameer Nair put it, with the launch of the first offering from the bouquet – a Hindi general entertainment channel also christened NDTV Imagine. The channel is expected to launch in January 2008. Even as an official date was not given, January 12, 2008 is the target date according to sources.
Nair calls these as baby steps, because NDTV Imagine’s objective is to be present across various segments of entertainment. The entity’s plans include more channels, movie production, animation and other related areas in the domain. Next in the pipeline is expected to be a movie channel, work on which has already begun. The drawing board already has ideas on more channels, even a second general entertainment channel, but NDTV officials state that it is too early to speak on any of these yet.
A press meet on November 14, 2007 was all about the channel NDTV Imagine.
NDTV Imagine top management
The core management team of NDTV Imagine that works with CEO Sameer Nair constitutes Shailja Kejriwal as EVP – Content. Harsh Rohatgi is EVP – Revenue Management and New Ventures. He will oversee the main revenue functions of ad sales and distribution and will also be responsible for identifying and pursuing growth opportunities in the entertainment space. Manoj Vidwans is EVP – Marketing, Research and Communication. A key area of his assignment will be to develop never-done-before ideas in marketing communication that will create the brand, NDTV Imagine.
Gaurav Gandhi is EVP – Business Operations and Ancillary Revenues. At NDTV Imagine, his role includes managing the company’s commercial and business affairs and maximising revenues from content distribution and licensing. Kuljeet Singh is EVP – Broadcast Services and Facilities. He will be responsible for engineering and managing in-house studios, ensuring quality control for seamless broadcasting, advising the channel to comply with the programming and advertising code prescribed under Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and formulating in-house guidelines. He will also be in charge of setting up new ventures for all broadcast setups and facilities.
As is known, the previous stint of each of these executives was at STAR India.
NDTV Imagine also has producer/director Karan Johar as a creative consultant and brand ambassador. His active involvement in the channel, however, would be seen in the later stages.
The NDTV marketing challenge – news or general entertainment?
NDTV is a strong brand name with the Indian audience and Nair believes that this is a strength. However, NDTV has been synonymous with news for all these years. Does that make the marketing more challenging to create a distinction in audience mindshare that NDTV would now also mean general entertainment? Nair replied, “I don’t think so. A ‘Radha ki Betiyaan…’ on NDTV Imagine is explanatory and clear enough.”
Nair explained that the communication of the channel had kickstarted on November 14, 2007 and that the multimedia marketing plans would catch on momentum closer to the launch date of the channel. He informed that McCann Erickson was the agency that would help the channel in its advertising.